GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Duke's work ethic is top-notch.
"He's fired up when it's time to work," said Officer Timothy Harris, handler of Duke, the new Grosse Pointe Farms public safety K-9 in training.
Duke, a 15-month-old German shepherd with nothing but time on his paws, also is easy to please.
A pat on the back and nibble of treats — his favorite is sweet potato and bison formula bits — were welcome reward during training Monday afternoon, June 16, in a municipal field at Mack and Moross.
"He's a great dog, very puppy-like, bouncing around," Harris said.
Duke needs about six more weeks of training at a K-9 academy in Taylor to become certified in law enforcement duty, including tracking and evidence searches.
Training includes Harris hiding things for Duke to find.
On Monday, Harris rubbed his hands around a metal wrench, baseball cap, keys and a plastic toy handgun before hiding them in the field.
Yet, it wasn't the objects Duke set out to find. It was Harris' fresh scent on them.
"If we're on a track and somebody throws away a weapon, he'll pick up the human odor from it," Harris said. "If he goes to something that isn't fresh, he'll investigate it, see it doesn't have odor and go on."
Fabric items are easiest for the dog to track because they retain scent the longest.
The wrench is hardest to find.
"Odor doesn't stay on metal very long," Harris said.